19 October 2020

Skills Training UK wins ‘Apprenticeship Programme of the Year’ at Tes FE Awards 2020

tes FE Awards - Apprenticeship Programme of the Year 2020 Skills Training UK

Skills Training UK has won ‘Apprenticeship Programme of the Year’ at the Tes FE Awards 2020 announced on Friday 16 October at a virtual awards ceremony. The award gives recognition to our work with employers and with the British Institute of Non-Destructive Testing (BINDT) to identity skills gaps and launch new NDT apprenticeships which employers have embraced.

Non-destructive testing (NDT) specialists are crucial to the safety of the aerospace, oil and gas industries and until recently, 60 per cent of workers were aged 60 and above, with just 13 per cent of workers being under the age of 40. It was a skills gap that urgently needed addressing and that’s what Skills Training UK did.

The judges praised Skills Training UK’s innovative approach, saying: “The programme is totally employer focused and is very specific. It works together with sector bodies, local authorities and colleges. As a result, the quality of apprenticeships is excellent. It’s clear to see it’s had a real impact right across the country.”

Skills Training UK is now the largest NDT apprentice provider in the UK, and currently has 174 apprentices in training at 74 companies. Some 60 per cent of these apprentices are aged 16-24. Apprenticeship programmes are a major benefit to employers who can upskill existing staff or recruit new talent into the sector.

There are three NDT Apprenticeship programmes available: Level 2 NDT Operator, Level 3 NDT Engineering Technician and the Level 6 NDT Engineer Degree (BSc Hons) in partnership with the University of Northampton.

We developed a simple and effective delivery model for the NDT Apprenticeships which was welcomed by employers. The apprenticeships are delivered through a combination of theory and practice with dedicated Skills Training UK trainer assessors supporting functional skills and specialist NDT training schools providing practical delivery and examinations. All apprenticeships factor in the specialist Level 2 or Level 3 qualifications in either PCN, EN4179 or CSWIP.

In a first for the industry, Skills Training UK established formal contracts with six specialised training schools to deliver the technical method of training. We invested in staff with high levels of training and industry expertise including from Tata Steel. We also developed NDT staff to support the delivery of Kaizen projects using lean principles.

To continue the investment in NDT we opened a Skills Training UK Materials Testing office in Sheffield next to the Advanced Manufacturing Park within close proximity of three Training School Partners.

Martin Dunford OBE, Chief Executive, Skills Training UK, says: “We are delighted to win the Tes FE Awards Apprenticeship Programme of the Year 2020, especially following the excitement of winning Training Provider of the Year last year. We would like to thank the British Institute of Non-Destructive Testing and the trailblazer employers who worked with us to make the new NDT apprenticeships possible.

“Our end-to-end model is flexible to employers and apprentices, balancing on/off the-job training, being receptive to individual learning needs for functional and other skills and offering an innovative online platform.

“Employers have the choice of specialist testing methods (through the specialist training schools) and employees can trust they are training for internationally recognised technical certifications. Our model includes a recruitment service which has inspired younger people to enter the industry.”

For further information about how we can work with you to upskill your workforce please call 0800 048 9370 or email apprenticeships@skillstraininguk.com

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